Not guilty of attempted murder

Judge notes absence of witnesses willing to testify

Garry William Hurlston was found not guilty of attempted murder last week after Justice Nova Hall found there was not enough evidence to call on him to answer the charge.

Hurlston, 40, had been charge with attempting to murder Wesley Clarke, 34, at a party in the early hours of June 21, 2012. He was also charged with wounding with intent to cause serious bodily harm as an alternative.

The judge summarized the evidence as presented by Senior Crown Counsel Nicole Petit. Defense Counsel Michael Duck, instructed by Clyde Allen, submitted that there was no case for Hurlston to answer.

Wesley Clarke received a stab wound to his neck. His carotid artery was 95 per cent severed. “His condition remains extremely serious as he is in a largely vegetative state,” the judge noted.

The evidence was that he was stabbed at an address in Windsor Park, George Town, and injuries were consistent with being inflicted by a knife or sharp object.

There were witnesses to say Hurlston was present at the premises on the morning when Mr. Clarke received his injury. Hurlston was wearing an electronic monitoring device at the time and it also placed him in the vicinity.

There was evidence that the defendant and Mr. Clarke stood face to face having an argument. Other persons stood with them and in the vicinity of them.

There was no evidence, however, of any physical altercation between the two men.

Mr. Clarke then complained of an injury and was observed to have a significant wound in his neck.

“There is no witness testimony to establish who inflicted this wound,” the judge pointed out. “Considering the number of persons who were present at the event, this fact speaks volumes about the willingness of individuals to discharge their civic duties. In any event, the evidence does not establish how this wound was inflicted.

“At its highest, on the evidence, a strong suspicion has been raised that the defendant, being the person who was arguing with Mr. Clarke, was probably the one who inflicted the wound. Had the two men been in confined circumstances, with no other persons in close proximity, the value of the evidence at this stage would be greater than strong suspicion,” the judge said.

In the circumstances, however, she was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to call on the defendant to answer the charge.

“I find that the prosecution evidence, taken at its highest, would not allow a jury, which was properly directed, to convict the defendant,” she ruled.

Based on that conclusion, it was her duty to stop the trial and to formally return a verdict of not guilty on both charges and discharge him. Hurlston, who had been in custody since shortly after the incident, had to remain in custody a few more days because of matters pending in Summary Court. They were mentioned on Monday, when he was granted bail.